The dark-haired, moody guy. The lovelorn female beauty, who believes he’s a secret softy. The weird names that no one’s ever heard of before but are suddenly sacked on babies by parents devoted to their love story. Floriella’s and Pranzbald’s are a dime a dozen in fiction. Kim & Kim‘s aren’t. What better way to punctuate this than by having our first meeting with Kim Q. be crashing into the token couple’s table?
Fiorella’s and Pranzibald’s are survivors and this won’t be the last time you see them (indeed, issue 2, Kim Q. has to crash into their table again, at a different restaurant) but fingers crossed that comics like Black Mask’s Kim & Kim mean their hegemony is falling. Written by Mags Visaggio, with pencils and inks by Eva Cabrera, Kim & Kim demonstrates the power of female friendship to carry a series without needing add-on romance.
Kim Q. and Kim D. are bounty hunters. Traveling the Omniverse in the coolest looking multipurpose vehicle since The Wild Thornberry‘s RV, they live by the pay check and generally make life fun, with colorist Claudia Aquirre’s use of pink incautious about being girly. Their weapons are an electric guitar and hot pink gun. Their wardrobe is not “work efficient.” And their methods leave a trail.
Kim Q. and Kim D. are partners and one of my favorite aspects of this first volume is that neither is given preference when it comes to meaty personal baggage. Sharing the same first name doesn’t make them interchangeable and Kim & Kim is one of the truest examples of two leads sharing the spotlight I’ve encountered, with neither taking dominance of the story.
That’s not to say they don’t have experiences in common. Both know what it takes to leave a family business and their debts reflect a reluctance to seek help from those strained relationships. With Kim D. there was a difference in opinion over the safety of practicing necromancy. Her mom said it was safe. Experience told her it wasn’t. Kim Q.’s anger at her dad, Furious Quatro, is felt by both Kim’s when they refuse to take contracts from his organization, the Catalans. For all his keeping tabs on Kim Q. reflects concern, his caller id photo makes it clear it’s concern on his terms. There are some battles worth keeping more than paying off debts and, in not accepting Kim Q. as a trans woman, neither Kim works for him.
“If Kim doesn’t finish this soon, I’m just gonna shoot and see what happens.”
Fast paced and full of surprises, desperate times call for being casual about risky measures, and you can only get away with that (without being yelled at for reckless endangerment) if you trust the person you’re fighting beside. The Kim’s are that kind of team. Writing without restrictions against the sudden inclusion of robot gorillas or polyform octopi, readers are taught to embrace no explanations. Sometimes this is taken advantage of, like at the end of issue two, where the reason for why a character is alive is never made comprehendible. Kim D.’s right about, “Shit doesn’t always neatly resolve,” but, for storytelling purposes, this works better in some cases than others.
Most of the time the spontaneity of no explanations is a blast, like a musical montage of the Kim’s on the search for a wanted person that includes a tea party and a chess game against the Grim Reaper. Take away our ability to predict what’s going to happen next, and the only option left is to sit back and enjoy. Kim & Kim may have a few loose ends but it’s never guilty of boredom.
Kim and Kim: Volume 1 is available starting December 21st. Issues 1-3 can be bought individually here.